At various times throughout his presidency, Donald Trump has appeared to test the limits of his presidential powers. More recently however, the president appeared to toss his support behind a proposal that would not only represent a major overstep in his authority but an unconstitutional power grab as well. On Sunday, Trump retweeted a suggestion that his presidency be extended beyond the four-year term dictated by the Constitution as "reparations" for the Russia investigation.
"After the best week ever for @realDonaldTrump — no obstruction, no collusion, [The New York Times] admits @BarackObama did spy on his campaign, & the economy is soaring," Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., a vocal Trump supporter, wrote in a tweet later retweeted by the president. "I now support reparations — Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup."
After re-tweeting Falwell's suggestion, Trump argued that the first two years of his presidency had been "stolen" from him while also arguing that they had been the most successful first two years of president in history. "Despite the tremendous success that I have had as President, including perhaps the greatest ECONOMY and most successful first two years of any President in history, they have stolen two years of my (our) Presidency (Collusion Delusion) that we will never be able to get back," Trump tweeted.
"The Witch Hunt is over but we will never forget," he continued in a follow-up tweet. "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"
While it's unclear if the president's retweet of Falwell was meant as a jest, extending a president's term without re-election would be a direct violation of the Constitution. Under section one of Article II in the Constitution, a president "shall hold his office during the term of four years." Bustle has reached out to the White House for comment.
While Trump has never before appeared to publicly suggest extending his presidential term, he's previously made comments that left Democrats concerned about his willingness to bow out. During the 2016 presidential race, Trump repeatedly claimed the election was being rigged against him and that there would be "large scale voter fraud" on election day. In fact, Trump went so far as to imply he might not accept the results of the election.
"I will tell you at the time," then-candidate Trump told Fox News' Chris Wallace when asked if he would accept the result of the election during the third 2016 presidential debate, according to a transcript provided by POLITICO. "I'll keep you in suspense, okay?"
Indeed, Trump's retweet comes on the heels of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi telling The New York Times she worries Trump may attempt to challenge election results if faced with a loss in 2020. "We have to inoculate against that, we have to be prepared for that," the paper reported she said. According to The New York Times, Pelosi said Trump would likely only be removed from office if Democrats won the 2020 presidential election with a margin so "big" it couldn't be challenged by Trump.